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Children & Families

Sensory-Friendly Performances

Sensory-friendly concerts are designed for people of any age with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivity and their families.
Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops. The stage is decorated for the holidays.

Modifications for these concerts include relaxed house rules, reduced volume and lighting levels, extra space for movement, available noise-reduction headphones, designated quiet room and support spaces, and credentialed autism therapist volunteers on site.

child smiles while holding a glow stick
Close-up of basket holding music note shaped fidgets, glow sticks, and paper programs.

Sensory-Friendly FAQs

What is a sensory-friendly performance?
Sensory-friendly concerts are designed for people of any age with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivity and their families. Relaxed house rules allow for more audience movement and foster a judgment-free environment. BSO staff and musicians learn about the needs of audience members with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivity from credentialed experts who are also on hand to support audience members and their families.

When and where are these performances taking place?
The sensory-friendly performance will take place at Symphony Hall: 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
Sensory Friendly Performance Dates/Times for the 2021-22 Season:
Holiday Pops, December 5 at 10am
BSO Family Concert, May 7 at 10am

How can I get tickets?
You can purchase tickets for sensory-friendly programs on our website or by calling 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200.

Who should attend this performance?
Sensory-friendly concerts are designed for people of any age with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivity and their families. Relaxed house rules allow for more audience movement and foster a judgment-free environment. BSO staff and musicians learn about the needs of audience members with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivity from credentialed experts who are also on hand to support audience members and their families.

Sensory-friendly performances are a welcoming, fun experience for the entire family. An adult must accompany all children. We encourage caretakers and family members of people with special needs to attend.

What changes will you be making to the production and script?
The music performed onstage will remain the same, but some of the technical elements will be softened to accommodate sensitive ears and eyes. Lights in the audience will be up (but dimmed) for the entire show to allow safe movement in and out of the hall. Abrupt and loud sound effects will be set at comfortable levels or warned with a flag signal from the stage. We will have a live feed of the concert in our support rooms for those who need a break from the main hall, but still want to listen to the concert. We also are disabling the automatic flushing function on our toilets in all restrooms.

My family member/client with autism has difficulty with transitions. How can I prep them for this new experience?
Please refer to our social narrative. We encourage families and caretakers to read the guide and prepare for the whole experience, from beginning to end.

Can I bring fidget toys, headphones, or other items that help my child/family member stay calm?
Of course! We encourage you to bring any items that might make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

My family member/client is in a wheelchair. Can you accommodate us?
Yes, Symphony Hall has wheelchair-accessible seating. Please inform the Box Office of any mobility issues when purchasing tickets.

Where can I park?
Please see our website for updated parking information.

My family member/client is deaf or hard-of-hearing. Will there be ASL interpreters at this performance?
If there is a need and request for one, we will certainly consider it. Please inform the Box Office when purchasing your tickets if this accommodation will benefit your performance experience.

If my family member/client is not able to sit through the entire show, will we be able to leave the auditorium? If they decide to, will we be able to return to our seat?
Patrons can leave the hall early if they decide they cannot remain for the whole show. Ushers and staff can help any patron to the lobby area or to our quiet rooms. If they simply need a break, our lobby will be available, as well as a couple of quiet rooms located throughout Symphony Hall. If/when the individual is ready to re-enter the hall for the performance, they are welcome to do so. An usher can help you find your seat.

Who can I contact for additional information about the sensory-friendly performance?
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Education and Community Engagement department at 617-638-9375 or email at education@bso.org.